Torg

Episode Six: The Big Apple

Smoke on the water, fire in the sky.

Act One – Back to the Beginning

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News of Spartan atrocities spreads and the Delphi Council sends Spartan Team #1, under the command of the biggest moustache in the Near Now, to hunt our heroes. Emily arranges for extraction from the Living Land via the SAS, and the group is soon aboard the HMS Vanguard and bound for New York. While there, they agree to locate missing UK diplomat Crispin Maitland. The UK is concerned Maitland may have fallen into enemy hands and be leaking intelligence to the Possibility Raiders. The group also discover that you actually can fit a moderately sized lakten into a submarine’s ballast tank. Which is nice.

Approaching New York by sea, and avoiding a protracted encounter with a fucking huge mosasaur, our heroes make landfall on Manhattan and find a sizeable settlement of humans living in a hardpoint at the 9/11 memorial site. Calling itself the New York Metropolitan Protectorate, the settlement is home to none other than missing former President Douglas Kent, now content to be the Protectorate’s gardener. While the group is getting to know the locals, Malcolm Kane and his moustache arrive, along with the rest of Spartan Team 1. They demand that the Protectorate hand over our heroes as war criminals, but the group manages to convince their hosts of the danger the Spartans pose. The Storm Knights depart, using intercepted Spartan communications to draw Kane and his men away from the Protectorate and deeper into the jungles of Manhattan.

They decide to see if they can locate the missing diplomat, last known to be at UNHQ, and use Manhattan’s ruined subways to avoid tangling with edeinos in the streets above. Instead, they run into one of the city’s gangs, who foolishly demand tribute from the Knights. Ragnar quite literally beats one of the gang members to death and the others decide that perhaps tribute isn’t such a big deal after all. Emerging from the sewers, the group see a weird crystal tower and deduce that it must be another fragment of a conquered cosm embedded in the Living Land. Rick Rogers heads up to investigate, while the rest of the team pass into pure Living Land territory in search of Maitland.

They do find him, although it’s a little complicated. Maitland has transcended and become a Stormer, but the experience has sent him slightly mad. He now rules over a gang of transformed humans who worship him as a god due to his reality-bending abilities. Maitland has embraced his new position with gusto and dubbed himself the Thunderlord. Naturally, the Thunderlord demands that our heroes serve him – and give him Cleophee as a gift while they’re at it. Unsure of quite how to handle this development, the Storm Knights don’t have to decide just yet, because Kane and his Spartans arrive. And an enormous edeinos war party. And Marshall Rogers, who helpfully crashes in the street outside. Brandishing his M16s, the Thunderlord leads his allies forth to confront the new arrivals…

Act Two – Rolling Thunder

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Battle commences – a chaotic and brutal affair. The Thunderlord sacrifices his tribe, sending them to their deaths against edeinos warriors. The Storm Knights throw themselves into the fray, battling elite edeinos who fight with supernatural skill, thanks to blessings from their goddess Lanala. Cleophee commandeers a carnol, Jaidyn finds a semi-functioning tank, Emily provides cover and supporting fire, Rick wreaks havoc among the Spartans, and Rosa turns up with Picnic and Protectorate troops. As the battle wears on, the tide slowly turns in favour of our heroes. The Thunderlord is also eaten by a carnol, thereby preventing him from leaking any intelligence to the enemy (although he leaks pretty much everything else).

With the combat nearly over, a strange dimthread descends from the skies, depositing the same winged reptilian creature that hurled lightning at Rosa, Jaidyn, Emily and the others, way back at the start of the invasion. Known as a ravagon, this creature is a powerful foe, able to steal Possibility Energy from those who confront it. The Storm Knights bring all their not-inconsiderable firepower to bear on the ravagon, dealing it a mortal wound, before a second dimthread plucks it from the battlefield. In the aftermath of the combat, it transpires that Kane – heavily wounded and abandoned by the Delphi Council – has crawled away, his fate unknown. His two surviving Spartans agree to join the Protectorate as a way to make amends for their misdeeds.

While the group treks back to the Protectorate, the ravagon enjoys the safety of a cut-scene. It confronts none other than the Saar of the edeinos, Baruk Kaah, in a strange forest of black stone trees. Criticising the Saar for the weakness of his warband, the ravagon insists that Sallsboratza will not be pleased at his lack of progress. The Saar proclaims his disdain for the Gaunt Man and his opinions, but takes the ravagon’s words seriously enough to order a pale edeinos priest to unleash the Great Gospog and send it against the New York Metropolitan Protectorate. “Release Er Crakken!” the Saar orders. And even the ravagon rolls its eyes.

Back at the Protectorate, our heroes find themselves with decisions to make. Marshall Rogers reveals what he has learned in the crystal tower – Central Park is being used to grow thousands of the plant zombies known as gospog. Becoming increasingly powerful with each successive harvest, these gospog are creatures of multiple realities and none at the same time, immune to creating contradictions. After a heated debate (which reveals Jake’s keen tactical mind, Mayor Bradshaw’s desire to avoid open conflict, Kent’s quiet air of command, and Quin Sebastian’s dickery), they settle on a plan to brew a potent chemical that should destroy the gospog fields. Now all that remains is a scavenging mission in the ruins of New York to acquire the necessary supplies, and the rapid fortification of the Protectorate in the face of an inevitable assault from the Saar’s forces – including the monstrous Er Crakken.

Act Three – Salted Earth

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The Storm Knights gather huge amounts of salt from the Spring Street Salt Store and send it back to the NYMP so that Kent can mix it with atrazine and various other chemicals to make a truly badass weedkiller. Picnic leads Jake and his men to the former Hells Angels HQ in the East Village to retrieve some detonators that the Angels totally just found this one time, while our heroes head north to retrieve some shells to combine with the detonators and spread weedkiller all over Central Park. Their destination? The Air and Sea Museum aboard the USS Intrepid.

The Intrepid is in a pretty bad way and home to a large flock of lakten, but the Knights manage to sneak aboard, hoping to scour the museum’s exhibits for missiles that they can rig to carry their gospog-slaying payload. They discover that the prow of the ship is a small hardpoint emanating from nothing less than the Space Shuttle Enterprise. They also run across a band of Nile shocktroopers who are here to scavenge gear for their Pharaoh. Making the mistake of letting Rick do the talking, negotiations soon go awry and combat breaks out. While they trounce the Nile intruders, Rick discovers that their commander – The Vanisher! – knows his father and learns that Admiral James Rogers is currently a prisoner of the Insidious Wu Han. Unfortunately, the mosasaur from Act One turns up and sinks the Intrepid and the Enterprise, so our heroes are forced to flee, snagging a pair of Sidewinder missiles at the last possible moment.

Allowing The Vanisher! and his surviving troops to depart in peace, the group turns its attention to rearming the Sidewinders with Kent’s weedkiller and prepping Quin’s plane The Blue Meanie for the assault on Central Park. Thus prepared, they fly north and actually make it all the way to the Park before the ravagon turns up again and invokes a reality storm, causing the Blue Meanie to crash. Although Rick, Emily, and Cleophee are able to deploy their weedkiller barrel-bombs, they realise that Er Crakken has chosen this moment to attack the NYMP, aided by a horde of gospog swarming out of the subway tunnels. Emily and Cleophee race back to the Protectorate on Oscar, leaving Rick, Jaidyn, Quin, and Rosa to finish the job at Central Park.

Jaidyn holds his own against the ravagon until Rosa fells it with deadeye sniper fire. He is unable, however, to free the Sidewinders from below the crashed Blue Meanie. Rick puts his armour’s strength to good use, flips the plane, and detonates the Sidewinders with his boot-jets, even as he carries Jaidyn and Quin to safety. Below them, the Central Park gospog field burns from end to end. Back at the NYMP, Cleophee decimates the gospog horde with well-placed fireballs, and Emily single-handedly slays Er Crakken with her trademark grenade-in-the-gullet manoeuvre. While Protectorate troops mop up the remaining attackers, Picnic rides out to rescue Rosa from her sniper’s perch near the Park. The Storm Knights are victorious, the Saar of the edeinos has suffered a great loss, and a final cut-scene reveals that the biggest moustache in the Near Now has survived. What more could a bunch of reality-hopping heroes ask for?

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